Sunday, October 9, 2016

The North & Cheney Model 1799 Pistol

Image result for North & Cheney Model 1799

During the Revolutionary War, the Americans fielded a mix of British, French, German, Dutch and home-grown pistols, which created an inventory of different styles and calibers of varying degrees of serviceability. In the late 1700's the United States decided to standardize its military arms. 

The US government issued two different contracts to Simeon North of Berlin, Connecticut, to manufacture the first U.S.martial pistol, the Model 1799 North & Cheney. North would build a total of 2000 pistols between 1799 and 1802. 

It was the first official model of pistol adopted by the United States. It is also the first of the numerous U.S. contract pistols manufactured by Simeon North.
The pistol closely resembles the French M.1799 flintlock pistol but has several distinctive features including a one-inch longer barrel, rounded breech assembly and extra barrel screw on the lower front edge of the frame. It has a distinctive brass frame with no fore stock, frizzen spring with rear facing apex, side mounted iron button head ramrod and one-piece walnut handle. 
The round, iron, smoothbore barrel does not have front or rear sights. The pistol has a convex, reinforced, hammer and an integral brass pan with no fence. The back strap is iron and the buttcap and trigger guard are brass. 

Collectors estimate that only about 20 Model 1799 pistols still exist today; surviving examples are of great historical significance and are among the rarest U.S. martial arms.

This pistol has the second contract markings that consist of: "NORTH & CHENEY BERLIN" in an arched curve on the underside of the brass frame. The "NORTH" and "CHENEY" markings lack the initials in front of each name that are found on early Model 1799 pistols.